Updates from Friday, July 11
ESPN's Jeff Goodman reports Lin is on the move:
Rockets have dealt Jeremy Lin and a future first-rounder to Lakers, sources told ESPN. Houston clearing space to land Bosh, keep Parsons.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 11, 2014
Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski reported Lin to the Lakers was in its final stages:
Houston is finalizing a deal to send Jeremy Lin to the Lakers, league source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 11, 2014
The Rockets finalizing Jeremy Lin, a future first-round pick and other draft considerations to the Lakers, league source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 11, 2014
The Lakers will send cash and rights to overseas player to the Rockets, but no salary back, league source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 11, 2014
ESPN's Marc Stein reports that a new team has entered the fray for Jeremy Lin:
Sources say Houston Rockets trying to trade Jeremy Lin to the Los Angeles Lakers. Report now on @SportsCenter— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 11, 2014
Lakers would make sense as destination with cap space to take on Jeremy Lin's expiring contract & without cutting into any of 2015 cap space— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 11, 2014
Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding adds more on the potential deal:
Regarding Jeremy Lin (and Carlos Boozer in possible Pau sign-and-trade w/CHI), Lakers could get draft-pick assets they almost totally lack.— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) July 11, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, July 8
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that a potential Jeremy Lin trade will have to wait until the Houston Rockets learn their fate in free agency:
Houston's Jeremy Lin trade still has not left the tarmac. Source says deal only goes in motion once Rockets secure free-agent commitment.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 8, 2014
Updates from Saturday, July 5
ESPN's Marc Stein has the latest on Lin:
Story going online now: ESPN sources say Sixers have expressed interest in trading for Jeremy Lin. Sources say Bucks are also exploring it— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 5, 2014
Stein added more:
The Philadelphia 76ers have expressed a willingness to trade for Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin depending on what sort of assets Houston is willing to attach to the deal, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Sixers, who have ample room on their payroll to absorb Lin's contract, have emerged as a leading contender to take on Lin in a trade that sends no salary back to the Rockets, which would enable the Rockets to extend a rich offer in free agency to either Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh. ...
... It's believed that the Rockets would have to send Philadelphia at least one future first-round pick to convince the Sixers to go through with the deal, given that Lin is owed $15 million next season despite the fact that his contract will only count for $8.4 million for salary cap purposes.
Sources say that the Sixers, though, are happy to take on Lin -- despite the presence of reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams as their starting point guard -- provided that the extra asset or two they get from Houston is sufficiently attractive.
Stein goes on to mention another club in the mix for Lin:
Sources say that the Milwaukee Bucks are another team that would consider trading for Lin if the Rockets add a sweetener or two to the deal for the privilege of shedding Lin's contract to a team that can comfortably absorb it.
Meanwhile, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports gives more details on Milwaukee's interest in the point guard:
The Bucks like Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin as a player, but have no interest in his $15 million salary next season, a source said.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 5, 2014
Updates from Friday, June 27
Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group reports on another possible trade destination for Jeremy Lin:
The Warriors, per a league source, have informed the Houston they would consider acquiring Lin from the Rockets via trade. Houston is reportedly shopping Lin in case they need to create cap space for Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.
The Warriors have a $9.8 million trade exception leftover from the trade that sent Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson's expiring contract to Utah. Though Lin is scheduled to make $14.9 million, only $8.37 will count against the salary cap. That means the Warriors can absorb Lin's contract without giving up any players.
Nothing is imminent, the source said. It's one of many options the Warriors are weighing.
Updates from Thursday, June 26
ESPN.com's Chris Broussard (subscription required) reports how Omer Asik to the Pelicans impacts Jeremy Lin:
Brian Windhorst is reporting the Rockets have traded Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans, setting up a trade of Jeremy Lin to clear the cap room necessary to offer near-max dollars. While they'd like to keep Chandler Parsons, he might have to be sacrificed to move Asik and/or Lin. I'm told Golden State might be interested in trading for Lin if it can land Parsons along with him.
Howard Beck of Bleacher Report passed along more on Lin's status in the trade market:
Rival exec tells me Rockets already have a Jeremy Lin deal lined up and ready to execute if they need the cap room to sign Melo or LBJ.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 26, 2014
As I noted yesterday, Rockets plan to keep Lin unless they get a commitment from one of their top FA targets. But Lin deal is ready to go.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 26, 2014
Jeremy Lin's future with the Houston Rockets is somewhat cloudy due to uneven play, a sizable contract and the team's potential ambitions to make a run at the offseason's marquee free agents.
Thus, it makes sense that Lin is the subject of trade rumors that could see him playing for a fourth NBA squad in five years. The latest buzz comes from USA Today's Sam Amick, who also implies that big man Omer Asik is on the block:
Addendum on Rox free agency front:I'm told they have moves teed up for necessary Asik/Lin trades but want to keep them if can't get LBJ/Melo— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 20, 2014
Anthony Rieber of Newsday brought up an interesting scenario, given that one of Houston's targets figures to be New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony:
Best part of Melo-to-Houston is the scenario in which Jeremy Lin winds up back on the Knicks. Lin-sanity II!— Anthony Rieber (@therealarieber) June 14, 2014
Perhaps in a sign-and-trade, "Linsanity" could return to Madison Square Garden. Until there's more substance behind that possibility, though, such a situation is pure speculation.
Lin is only 25 years old and still has room to improve his game. Already a dynamic pick-and-roll threat on the offensive end, it's his perimeter defense that's drawn criticism. The fact that he's due nearly $15 million in salary entering the final year of his current contract makes him an appealing trade option (h/t Spotrac.com).
For a team like the Knicks, who likely won't be title contenders in 2014-15, taking on the exorbitant Lin deal makes all the more sense while adding plenty of excitement to what could be a lost season.
Lin seemed a bit frustrated by his fluctuating role with the Rockets following the 2013-14 campaign, but he didn't seem concerned about being traded, per the Houston Chronicle's Jenny Dial Creech:
I think this year was an up-and-down year. A lot of good things, a lot of bad things, definitely an up-and-down year. A lot of adjusting. I would go through stretches where I played 35-40 minutes consistently; then I would go back down to 15-20. ...
... Next year will be my fifth season, so my first year and a half, I dealt with my name being surrounded with getting cut and things like that. Then it was my name being surrounded with trades. So I would much rather take the second one than the first. I am not really too worried about it.
Offloading Lin's contract would give Rockets general manager Daryl Morey the chance to make a pitch to Anthony or Miami Heat superstar LeBron James. No word on whether James will opt out in South Beach, but Anthony will do so Monday, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
The quicker Houston can clear cap space, the sooner Morey and Co. will have the means to make a legitimate recruiting pitch to the likes of Anthony and James. Knowing what the general personnel will be is key to sell the Rockets as a viable destination.
There are creative avenues for Houston to explore, as both Lin and Asik have identical contracts and can be shipped away without much consequence to the current nucleus. Lin lost his starting job to Patrick Beverley, while Asik didn't fit into the starting five alongside Dwight Howard.
What should the Rockets do with Jeremy Lin?
Small forward Chandler Parsons was on the books for cheap and will reportedly have his team option declined, offering more flexibility for the Rockets' front office. Whether Parsons, a restricted free agent to be, returns to the fold would be rather irrelevant if Houston can acquire either an upgrade at the 3, such as Anthony or James.
But without Lin and potentially Asik, there's the possibility to hang on to Parsons and still lure another star to Houston. Morey was wise to backload Lin's contract in the event that he didn't pan out with the Rockets. Now that he hasn't, Houston is once again sitting pretty, with a No. 25 overall pick in Thursday's draft to play with too.
Since Lin thrives best with the ball in his hands, he has struggled to coexist with rim attacker James Harden in Houston's backcourt. The Rockets' uptempo style fits with how Lin thrived in New York, but a fresh start for both sides has its mutual benefits.
Houston should be a prominent title contender regardless of what it decides to do with Lin. The real question will be who the Rockets can convince to come in and help this squad take the next step in a challenging Western Conference.